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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

THE    CHRISTIAN   AND    HISTORICAL   STUDY

IV

At this point it becomes relevant to discuss the possibility
of a Christian interpretation of history within the scheme
of things which is now in question.

What we begin with is a form of historical scholarship
restricted to a realm of tangible things, things which
are to be established from concrete kinds of evidence.
It is necessary to make inferences from the evidence and
to have insights into personality, but the inferences and
the insights belong to the same limited realm; they
are, so to speak, very near to earth. In fact, we should
expect them to be generally communicable, indeed to
be ratified by a certain consensus of opinion, before the
result could be accepted as a part of scholarship. In
all this we may feel that we are studying the ways of
Providence, but we cannot say that we have demon-
strated the existence of ProvidenceŚwe cannot say:
" Here is evidence that ought to be sufficient to convince
any neutral person". When we have reconstructed
the past all that we have obtained is a picture of life
as it must appear to any person living in the world;
except that, whereas an individual only sees his three-
score years and ten of it, he can now extend his vision
and recognise certain long-term processes and tendencies.

If in Hfe a man has accepted the Christian view of
things, he will run these values throughout the whole
story of the past, and, taking the very basis of narrative
which historical scholarship has provided, he may see

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